microsoft

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.
Matt Barton's picture

Windows Upgrades Over the Years

I have to thank Al Lowe for passing on this great video showing the upgrade process for every version of Windows. It's a brilliant trip down memory lane for those of us who have been computing since the 90s. How many of these upgrades did you do?

Bill Loguidice's picture

Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 Sets Guinness World Record for Sales

Microsoft KinectMicrosoft KinectMaking the rounds today is word that Microsoft's Kinect has sold over 10 million units since it had its worldwide roll-out throughout the month of November, 2010. Certainly an impressive feat in such a short amount of time and apparently worthy of the people at Guinness World Records, who have officially named it the "fastest-selling consumer electronics device" (faster than even the iPhone and iPad) by selling an average of 133,333 units per day for a total of eight million units in its first 60 days between November 4, 2010, and January 3, 2011. Congrats to Microsoft and I'm certainly a fan, but I have to say, now that there's no denying the device has consumer traction, where are the games? Dance Central and Kinect Sports are lots of fun, but we could really use some more quality titles to take advantage of the device, and sooner rather than later at that...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Microsoft Kinect from 1980

A short sequence from disc 1 of Cosmos: The Complete Collection, The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean (1980). Carl Sagan demonstrates a vision of a futuristic interface that involves simple hand motions, much like today's Microsoft Kinect. Just like the Apple iPad from 1986, it's just a matter of how long - not if - to make what seems futuristic or even impossible today a reality tomorrow.

Matt Barton's picture

Happy 25th Birthday, Windows. Who wants to spank them?

There's a nice story up at Gizmodo today about the birthday of Windows 1.0, the crummy Mac OS knock-off that eventually became the Windows that we all know and loathe today. There's some fun factoids in the article, such as Microsoft originally wanted to call it "Interface Manager" instead of Windows. Bet that would have gone over well. Naturally, the article doesn't bother to mention the Amiga or Atari ST GUIs, which were far better than Windows 1.0. Nevertheless, while Apple, Commodore, and Atari were rolling on the floor laughing their fuzzy little tails off, the Microsoft tortoise was slowly but steadily waddling past them towards the finish line. Doesn't that make you hurt inside?

Bill Loguidice's picture

Bill's 2010 Holiday Buying Guide - Console Edition

Since other media outlets have had to fulfill their apparent obligation this holiday season like every holiday season to recommend what to buy and why, I thought I would join in on the fun, with the big difference with my guide being that I actually own and use all of the systems in question, so I'm not just talking out of a hypothetical butt like some others do. Allegedly. Now here's a bad cell phone photo of my three consoles as evidence (you're welcome in advance for the bikini snow angel):

Bill Loguidice's picture

First Impressions of Microsoft's Kinect - It's a hit!

Well, chalk me up as surprised, but my first impression of Microsoft's new Kinect is that it's a rousing success for what it's intended for, much moreso than Sony's PlayStation Move or Nintendo's Wii Motion+. I had preordered the standard Kinect bundle, which comes with "Kinect Adventures", from Amazon, along with "Dance Central", as part of a special promotion. It arrived yesterday, which was the official street date when retailers were authorized to actually sell the thing (there were only a few cases of a broken street date). As is usual for a Microsoft product, it's a rather convoluted and bulky setup, but since it actually works, I can't be too critical of that aspect of the device. By the way, as a point of full disclosure up front, as luck would have it, we probably have the ideal family room setup for motion games, with a generous amount of space between the TV and any other obstacles, like our sofas, so, unless you want to move furniture to make the necessary 6 - 10 feet or so of clear space (you want a generous rectangle), know that your mileage will definitely vary from mine in terms of hassle-free play (you'll generally need a less space for Move and Motion+).

I have the old style white Xbox 360, and, as such, I was required to plug the Kinect into the rear USB port and then plug in yet another (albeit small) wall wart (this is necessary, because, among other things, the camera can turn on its own). If I had the new style Xbox 360 slim, it has an accessory port that the Kinect can draw power from directly. Anyway, for those of us with the old style Xbox 360's (which is probably most of us), they also give a small USB extension cable so the wireless networking card dongle can plug into the front USB port, since the rear USB port is a requirement for Kinect. Ugly. However, in my particular setup, both my 360's still have HD-DVD drives attached to them (yeah, I admitted it), which is where I have my wireless dongle attached to, so in fact I didn't need the extender as I could just plug the USB cord from my HD-DVD drive to the front USB port. Needless to say, with the old style white Xbox 360, a USB plug sticking out of one of the two front USB ports and the HD-DVD drive next to it (along with an old style memory card that keeps my sign-ins portable), it's hardly a sleek looking setup, though my launch ("fat") PS3 hardly looks much better since I have the PlayStation Eye camera always plugged into one of the front four USB ports. Looks aside, plugging it all in was logical and went smoothly.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Ed Fries Creates Halo for the Atari 2600 VCS!

Halo (Atari 2600)Ed Fries, who was vice president of game publishing at Microsoft during much of the Xbox's lifecycle and helped in the acquisitions of Ensemble Studios, Rare - and perhaps most importantly - Bungie Studios, has developed the unexpected--a version of the latter's hugely popular Halo series for the legendary Atari 2600 Video Computer System (VCS). Fries' recounting of the story is copied below. For more details, see the thread on AtariAge, where you can download the ROM for use in your favorite emulator or for transfer to your favorite flash cart for play on the real thing. There's also a browser-based emulator available, as well as an official Facebook page.

Bill Loguidice's picture

E3 2010 - It's about the Hardware and a Console Middle Age

Nintendo 3DSNintendo 3DSIn an interesting twist, this E3 has been about hardware and a console middle age. How is that a twist and what do I mean by that? Well, instead of the usual E3 when the focus is on hardware and the usual new, dedicated platforms, this E3 has really been about enhancing two of the three existing platforms with hardware add-ons, and, as a nod to the maturity of this console lifecycle, a rash of sequel-itis from the big three, with new entries in well worn game series. With no sign of either the Xbox 360, Wii, or PS3 being replaced any time soon, it's all about distinguishing your particular platform in a particular manner--Microsoft and Sony went with new, relatively expensive hardware add-ons (and the former one fairly slick redesign), and Nintendo went with its usual franchises. And oh yes, Nintendo slammed the gavel down with full details on the extremely impressive 3DS, the logical successor to the DS line (and thank goodness they went with the 3DS name and not some of the other names being bandied about).

So, let's take a look at what the big three offered up both right before and during E3, and provide some analysis:

Bill Loguidice's picture

Initial Impressions of Microsoft's Game Room

Well, I downloaded Microsoft Game Room last night on my Xbox 360, and the two game packs, which essentially featured a small selection of Atari 2600 and Intellivision console games, and Konami and Atari arcade games. I came away underwhelmed. While some of the basic concepts are sound, like being able to create your own virtual arcade rooms to decorate and "walk" around in (your avatar is shown sidling up to a machine), and being able to visit others' arcades, it's not exactly as aesthetically pleasing and as smooth of an interface as I would like. Nevertheless, I'm sure I could get used to that, but where it really breaks down for me is in the video emulation, which simply doesn't seem to work that well with my 50" 1080p HDTV at the distance I am from the screen (about 10 feet). What do I mean by this? Well, particularly with some of the arcade machines, like Lunar Lander for instance, everything is just too small to comfortably make out from a distance, and the zoom options - which are only accessible from a menu and are not real-time - don't really help, so there's naturally lots of wasted space on the left and right of the screen. Of course, some games fare better with this than others, like the Atari 2600 and Intellivision games (though I didn't feel like the latter controlled all that great or that the emulation was 100%), but I still found the experience rather uncomfortable, no matter what screen settings I chose. There are additional options for adding and removing scanlines and various other display and sound trickery and ambiance, but nothing worth really sticking with.

If you demo a game, it's a one time, timed free demo, then you have to use credits to play the game (they give you 20 to start out with), or purchase the game, of which there are two major options: purchase just for this console, or purchase for play on others devices as well (in this case, your Windows PC). In any case, I'm going to experiment more with this new service when I have time, and see if being closer to the TV (as in, off my comfy sofa) makes me any more "comfortable", as there are certainly some interesting aspects to this, including issuing challenges to your Game Room-owning Xbox 360 or Windows friends.

So, for those who tried it, what are your thoughts?

Bill Loguidice's picture

CES 2010 Breaking News: Microsoft Announces "Microsoft Game Room" for Xbox 360 and PC with tons of Classic Gaming Goodness!

Microsoft Game Room ImageMicrosoft Game Room ImageAccording to a Microsoft Press Release and confirmed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft will be releasing something called the "Microsoft Game Room" some time this spring, and, within three years, will see the release of over 1000 classic videogame titles, including arcade, Atari and Mattel Intellivision games, the latter of which was confirmed by Facebook friend Keith Robinson of Blue Sky Rangers fame as one of the available launch systems (other systems TBC). Apparently this area will be avatar-based, where your Xbox avatar will roam an arcade-like setting to find and play games (a bit like Sony's Home on PS3). There's a two-tier price structure, with one being an outright purchase of the game in question, and the other being a low cost, single play option, just like putting a quarter in an arcade machine in the days of old. We'll keep you posted as more news develops, but this is great news for those of us - like the readers of Armchair Arcade - who are passionate about classic gaming. The more love the current three consoles give (and each already has given a lot) to gaming's past, the better it is for all us as gamers, particularly since it looks like this is going to be a long generation with the big three. It's unclear how this will work with the PC as of this writing, but the fact that PC gamers are being invited to the party just makes it all the better, as well as the fact that owning it on one gives you access to it on the other.

Syndicate content